White Cap Inc. is opening a 113,000-square-foot plant May 1, in Athens, Ga., its second plastic closure and capping system facility in the United States.
``We chose Athens for two reasons,'' Ralph Keller, vice president of operations, said in a telephone interview. ``The location gives us good geographical proximity to our customer base and there is an availability of a skilled work force.''
The leased plant will start with 40 employees and run three injection presses. As the company ramps up production, White Cap expects to top out at 21 injection presses and a staff of 200. Company officials would not disclose the amount invested in the facility.
``The new plant will significantly expand our capacity and help us meet the extraordinary growth in demand for plastic closures,'' Dane Tyson, president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
Downers Grove, Ill.-based White Cap is a manufacturer of plastic and metal closures and capping systems for the food and beverage industries. Tyson added that the growth in the closures business is driven by the rising popularity of plastic single-serve beverage bottles vs. cans, as well as the emerging substitution of PET for glass in traditional food segments.
The company's plastic caps and closures are injection molded from polypropylene.
Founded in 1926, White Cap operates 14 closure plants worldwide. The firm's domestic operations include a plastic operation in Champaign, Ill., and metal closure facilities in Chicago and Hazleton, Pa. Internationally, White Cap operates in Brazil, China, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Turkey and Venezuela, with licensees in Australia, Japan, Korea and South Africa.
The company is part of Schmalbach-Lubeca AG, based in Ratingen, Germany.